Friday, November 15, 2013

#WHW Still Up & Running. So Is Celebrate The Small Things!

Well, here's the last of my #WHW contributions. Hope you'll welcome 

Driving Characteristics: People Watching
by Katie Dunn

Writers write. It’s what we do. But to be able to write real and believable characters, we need to have an understanding of those minute characteristics that people display-usually subconsciously-on a physical level. That usually involves people watching. If you’re anything like me, it’s an uncomfortable habit. Sitting in one place, staring at people wigs me out on a personal level. Mainly because I can’t stand the idea of someone doing it to me. It’s part of being a writer though, so I do it. At the store, at the park, in the waiting room of a doctor’s office… Anytime I’m in public, I MAKE myself people watch.
The other day, I was sitting at the stop light of the main intersection of my town watching the people in other cars as they waited for the light to turn or drove past, and I realized I don’t mind people watching when I’m in the car. Right after that realization came another: Everyone has a different driving personality, and I wondered how I could translate those characteristics into the characters in my books?
Now, if you write historical fiction where driving involves straps, harnesses, and horses, then People Watching in Cars is probably not going to help you, but if you write ANYTHING ELSE, this might be something you want to get involved in. Even if you write sci-fi where people drive spaceships instead of cars, this is a useful exercise. I anticipate that driving habits will translate into any vehicle in the future.
But Katie, HOW am I supposed to watch people while driving around in a car? Isn’t that dangerous?
Don’t worry. I’ve got it all worked out and it’s as safe as people watching anywhere else.
  • Find the busiest intersection in your area, preferably with a gas station or restaurant.
  • Park in the gas station or restaurant with your car (and yourself) pointed directly at the intersection.
  • Try to find a place that allows easy viewing all around. Use of your mirrors is highly recommended =)
  • Be sure to have a note pad or recording device so that you can take notes.
  • Sit. Watch. Take notes.
I’ve done this several times since I had the idea and it’s been a great exercise in people watching. Not only do I learn more about the habits of drivers, but with a gas station and restaurant nearby, I have a chance to watch people as they move about their business without feeling odd about it. I’m in my car, after all! I honestly don’t know why being in the car makes it easier to people watch, but I’m glad it does. Now, go out, find your intersection, and watch! watch! watch!

Author Bio

Katie Dunn is an avid reader, writer of Young Adult fiction, a mom to two tornadoes that resemble a seven and five year old, and pet to a tuxedo cat named Oz. If she's not reading, writing, or getting Oz out of a tree, she's staring out the window daydreaming about anything and everything while doing dishes.
Katie blogs at Writing, Reading, and Life, spouts stuff on Twitter, and posts on Facebook. 



Today I'm celebrating another day with the sun coming up over the trees. I'm celebrating being able to see it, to feel its warmth and to walk down the familiar trail it lights. 

What are you celebrating? 


  1. Now that's my kind of celebration! Best of the weekend to you, Lee!

  2. Now that's my kind of celebration! Best of the weekend to you, Lee!

  3. Great to meet Katie! I love people watching when I'm somewhere like the airport or a baseball game, etc. Never thought about it while in the car. I love your tips. :)

    Nice celebration, Lee.

  4. I like to do this at the mall. Great people watching at the mall.

  5. Great post Katie. Thanks for the tips on people watching.

  6. Very nice story with good ideas. Happy weekend and thank you for sharing.

  7. Thanks for having me Lee! WHW was a huge hit and I'm glad to have been a part of it both ways=)


  8. Nice to meet you, Katie! I enjoyed your funny take on people watching, definitely an important part of the writer's arsenal.

    It's wonderful to be pleased with the simple (and free) things in life. Thanks again for your donation to Julie and my blog-hop. Wishing you unstressful and re-charging walks along that sunlit path. :-)

  9. Greetings humans Lee and Katie,

    Writers write. The heck they do. Actually and almost seriously, I have tried to create and write about real and bordering on believable characters. I love to people watch. Observe the idiosyncrasies, the quirks, the helter skelter of life as I watch it go by.

    I do struggle to take notes, however. Rather difficult writing notes with paws. Put on a pair of mittens and try writing, my human friends.

    One of the characters I created is this ridiculous human named, "Gary".

    Here's to the sun coming up over the trees as opposed to under the trees.

    I'm celebrating I'm your starstruckest doggy fan.

    Pawsitive wishes, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

  10. LOvely to meet Katie! ANd yes, what a wonderful thing to celebrate :)

  11. I love the idea of driving personalities.

    I'm celebrating clear skies, no wind, and spring-like temps for the weekend.

  12. Ooh, driving personalities is an interesting concept!

    Happy celebrations and have a great weekend!

  13. Awesome! Living in NYC was a dream come true as far as people watching. Pick a corner, any corner--or subways stop. I do miss that aspect of the city.

  14. People watching....we can learn so much (and by listening too).

  15. i join your celebration as im thankful for a healthy family! for now!

    katies article was fun & helpful. i love hands on research! people watching is the best! like a reality show!

  16. Or use public transport! :-)

    Take care

  17. The sun! Great celebrations ;)

  18. Mmm. I think maybe being in a car to watch people would make me feel better because they wouldn't notice me watching them. Interesting article, Katie. Thanks.

  19. I have no problem people watching. Except that I'm always afraid someone's going to notice me looking. Never thought about watching people in the car.

    I'm thankful for a beautiful sunshine-y day when they forecasted rain =)

  20. I don't complain too much when I have to wait in a car. I'm busy people watching.

  21. Great post and awesome celebrations!

  22. I love people watching. I used to carry around a notebook and take notes when I was a kid, kind of like Harriet the Spy. My brother hated it. I thought it was a blast!

  23. Katie, I am with you about it being unnerving to stare... I'll try your technic. With sunglasses? Like a cop, right?

    I eavesdrop in cafes, and public transit, and then write down what I've heard, so apparently I'm not all that scrupulous!

    Take care,


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